How Did They Fare?

by Deb Abraham Spalding

In 2017, The Catoctin Banner staff followed the progress of two residents’ resolutions. Artist, Rachel Mohler, resolved to complete a painting-a-day of the scene outside the window of her Sabillasville home. Health and Wellness Coach, Susan Torborg, resolved to impact the health of others by sharing her R3 Weightloss Plan. Take a look at how they progressed in meeting their resolutions. Thank you Rachel and Susan for being a part of this year-long adventure!

Rachel Mohler

Rachel Mohler of Sabillasville started 2017 with the resolution to paint the view outside her kitchen window every day. In May, I interviewed Rachel to write a progress update. At the time, she and her family had learned valuable lessons from the resolution: more awareness of nature and changes in the weather, as well as the overall lesson to notice more detail about life. Shortly after our interview, in June, construction started for an addition on her home. During that time, life at the Mohler’s house was complete chaos, as her family of five had to live in two rooms, around construction and construction workers. You can imagine that painting took a back seat and was limited during that time. As summer went on, the thought of painting daily became unreasonable.

Despite the distractions, Rachel completed some watercolor paintings to sell. Seemingly as a distraction, she made some art charms and the charms were selling out. Along the way, several collaborations and projects presented themselves, and Rachel followed the opportunities. She’s been very busy.

First, a long-time friend, Amy V. Lindenberger, who owns a co-op art gallery in Gettysburg, called The Drawing Room Gallery, asked Rachel to start selling her art this coming March. Rachel will have at least a dozen pieces for sale at one time there.

Second, as an analog pen pal artist, Rachel’s friend, Trina O’Gorman of WarriorWriting on Instagram, asked Rachel to collaborate with her on a year-long journaling project. As an artist, when Rachel sends a letter, she paints something on the letter. The letters are placed in a pocket notebook and sent back and forth. Trina wrote an article about Rachel and their journal project for her newsletter. Rachel said, “It was a wonderful, very touching article.” This occurrence inspired Rachel to start blogging online. Rachel belongs to the MTN and Fountain Pens group on Facebook, where participants use fountain pens to write letters back and forth. The letters become art, as the writer indicates the model of fountain pen they used, the type of tip (called nib) on the pen, and the brand and color of ink used to create the expressive words.

Third, Julianne Du Four is a friend that Rachel met in a mom’s group in Walkersville. Julianne started the Petal Patch Flower Farm, from which she sells her flowers at a Downtown Frederick market. Like Rachel, she has small kids, so Rachel recognized the work it takes to make her business grow. Noticing how Julianne’s passion for her flowers transforms her, Rachel was inspired to paint portraits of Julianne each season, and is planning a line of Petal Patch Flower Farm charms, using dried flowers provided by Julianne.

Amidst all the chaos of life, Rachel’s painting-a-day 2017 resolution transformed into new awareness and opportunity.

“While I failed at my original goal, the resolution forced me to do something that propelled me through a winter phase of the artist’s version of writer’s block.” She explained, “I’m in places at the end of the year that I never, ever dreamed.”

The 2017 resolution served as a tool for her. “I’m human, and it’s been helpful. To fail at a goal is almost better than actually succeeding, because it helped me look past that to horizons I’d never dreamed or thought possible.”

Having turned forty in October, Rachel has officially arrived at a goal she never truly took seriously, “…to be an artist with a capital A.”

In 2018, her resolution is to complete one painting of a local scene per month.

Susan Torborg

We first introduced Susan Torborg in our March 2017 issue as our second Catoctin Banner Resolutions Spotlight. At the time, she and her husband Jim and their five children lived in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. In her introduction article, Susan showed a picture of her vision board for 2017. On it, she indicated that she wanted to achieve balance in her life with family first followed by faith, motherhood, health, and financial freedom.

With a degree in exercise science, Susan’s life mission has been to help others. She has been a personal trainer, she even marketed her own workout CD in the 1990s with some success. In more recent years, she has been on a mission to enhance the lives of other people by educating them about how to live chemical-free in their homes and how to achieve their weight loss goals. She introduced her FREE six-week weight loss program called “R3 Weight Loss Plan.” In 2017, through the R3 Plan, Susan had re-solved to help over 300 people lose a cumulative total of 1,000 inches and at least 1 ton (2,000 pounds) of fat. “People love the R3 Weight Loss Plan because it teaches the skill of weight loss. It has keto affects in the first two weeks, but is maintainable long-term because of the variety of foods allowed,” Susan explained.

In addition to helping hundreds of R3 individuals, Susan conducted the first official six-week R3 Weight Loss Challenge from November 1 through December 13, 2017. In this challenge alone, there were 552 participants from all over North America and Canada. The participants in that challenge lost a total of 2,428.8 pounds and 3,036 total inches. Susan far surpassed her original resolution goals.

Susan had achieved success! But, like most lessons in life, it was the journey to the results where her bigger achievements were found. Shortly after a resolution update article that appeared in the July issue of The Catoctin Banner, Susan’s husband Jim, was recruited for a new job in Minnesota (where his large family lives). Within a month, the Torborg family moved to Minnesota so their children could start school in the beginning of the new year.

Susan’s biggest achievements in 2017 resulted while helping her children settle in the new schools, and making a new home for her family in a new place. Susan knew how hard it is to ac-climate to a new community, so she pushed herself out in the community to meet as many people as she could. She said, “It was very hard at times and found myself going through some tough days of missing Emmitsburg and Fairfield and crying as I drove myself around trying to find the local super market.” The intentional push out of her comfort zone resulted in meeting many amazing people and new friends. She started building her business locally in Minnesota in November and initiated partnerships with chiropractors and local gyms.

“I have learned and seen my confidence has grown a lot this year,” Susan shared, “I have a renewed sense of confidence in approaching other trainers, gym openers, chiropractors, and other health professionals to partner with them in helping teach their clients the R3 Plan. My goal in 2018 is to partner with ten other health professionals. I have realized I have been letting fear stop me in approaching them before. I am pushing through fear this year in 2018 and doing the activities anyway to reach my goals.”

Susan is very active on Facebook with frequent live videos about her challenges towards health and life as well as posts and live videos from some of her clients.

You can find the R3 Plan on Facebook by requesting to join the closed group, “R3 Weight Loss Plan” and Susan will add you. She made the group public early in 2017, and now it has over 8,250 members and grows by hundreds of new members weekly. You can download and print the plan for free and find it in the first pinned post. Susan wishes you a new journey of resolution in 2018. You can do it! She will help. The next R3 six-week Weight Loss Challenge starts January 1, 2018, and anyone can join the group at any time during January. If you miss the start date, you can join the next challenge in February.


31… New Year’s Eve Party, Thurmont American Legion Post 168, 8 Park Ln., Thurmont. Entertainment by DJ Jake.

31… EVAC’s New Year’s Eve Bingo, 17701 Creamery Rd., Emmitsburg. Doors open 5 p.m.; games 8 p.m. Tickets: $50 in advance; $60 at door (dinner platter included). All inclusive 9 pack, 50 games including four $1,000 jackpots. Tickets: Mary Lou 240-285-3184 or Pam 240-472-3484.

31… Covenant Renewal Service, Weller United Methodist Church, Thurmont. 10 a.m.

31… Green Grove Gardens’ New Year’s Eve Gospel Concert & Dinner, Event Center, 1032 Buchanan Trail East., Greencastle, PA. Starting 6 p.m. Featuring the Chuck Wagon Gang and the inspirations & elegant dinner; hors d’oeuvres & refreshments throughout night. Ticket info.:


1…… “Served with Grace” Free Community Meal (first Monday each month), Graceham Moravian Church, 8231-A Rocky Ridge Rd., Thurmont. 5:30-7 p.m. All invited. 301-271-2379.

1…… Clothes Closet, Thurmont United Methodist Church, 13880 Long Rd., Thurmont. 6-7:30 p.m. 301-271-4511.

1…… Polar Plunge, Fort Ritchie Community Center, 14421 Lake Royer Dr., Cascade, MD. Noon-3 p.m. Funds raised used to help the Community Center. $15-$25.

2…… Line Dancing, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 10-11 a.m. Free. 301-271-7911. Also: Jan. 9, 16, 23.

2…… Free Movie Day: Out of the Woods, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 1-3 p.m. 301-271-7911.

3…… 50/50 Bingo, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 1-3 p.m.   Open to public. Must be 18 to play. $5 to play, specials, pickle jar; $1 coverall last game. 301-271-7911. Also: Jan. 17, 31.

3…… Coffee Club, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 4-5:30 p.m. Food donations appreciated. 717-794-2240. Also: Jan. 10, 24, 31.

3…… VITT (very important teens & ‘tweens) Night, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 6-7:30 p.m. Play Wii, board games, do puzzles, eat snacks, watch movies, make movies & more. 717-794-2240. Also: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31.

4…… Adult Reading Group, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 6 p.m. New members welcome. 717-794-2240.

4…… Dining for Dollars, Roy Rogers, Thurmont.  5-9 p.m. Benefits CHS Class of 2018 Safe & Sane.

4…… Memory Café, Sponsored by Somerford House, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. Noon-2 p.m. Free lunch & activity. Call to register: 301-271-7911.

4…… Mother Seton School Feast of Elizabeth Ann Seton Mass, 100 Creamery Rd., Emmitsburg. 10:15 a.m. 301-447-3161 or

4…… Peaceful Thursdays, Harriet Chapel, 12625 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thurmont. Noon. Bring a sandwich & watch video series by Max Lucado; receive coloring book/journal for relaxed contempla-tion. Drinks & snacks provided. Register: 301-271-4554.

4…… Pickle Ball Drop-In (ages 50 & up), Emmitsburg Community Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. Thru Apr. 5.  2:30-4 p.m. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

5…… Friday Night Bingo, Thurmont Event Complex, 13716 Strafford Dr., Thurmont. Doors open 5 p.m.; Bingo 7 p.m. Food served by Thurmont Amb. Co. volunteers.

5…… Friday Entertainment at Furnace Bar & Grill: DJ Brian Mo, 12841 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thur-mont. 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Every Friday. 240-288-8942.

6…… Story Hour w/Miss Mary Anne, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 11 a.m. 717-794-2240. Also: Jan. 13, 20, 27.

6…… Stultz Fitness Training Open House, 285 Boyle Rd., Fairfield, PA. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Can’t make it to the Open House? Call for a FREE consultation: 717-334-6009.

6…… Money Bingo, Rocky Ridge Vol. Fire Co. Activity Bldg., 13516 Motters Station Rd., Rocky Ridge, MD. Doors open 4:30 p.m.; games 7 p.m. New prizes! $500/$1,000 jackpots at 57 numbers or less. Food avail. by Ladies Auxiliary. (snow date: Jan. 13).

6…… Ott House Pub Entertainment: Big Jim’s Pontoon Boat, 5 W. Main St., Emmitsburg. 301-447-2625.

6…… Women’s Little Christmas, Shamrock Restaurant, Rt. 15, Thurmont. Enjoy live music, special lunch & dinner, complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

8…… Monday Mommy Meet-up, Children’s Museum of Rose Hill Manor Park, 1611 N. Market St., Frederick, MD. 9-11:30 a.m. $1/child (infants & toddlers). Kari Saavedra 301-600-2743 or

8…… Lego & Wee Build Creation Night, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. All ages welcome. 4-5:30 p.m. 717-794-2240. Also: Jan. 22, 29.

8…… Zumba Gold, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 10:15-11 a.m. $24/8 sessions or $5/class. 301-271-7911. Also: Jan. 15, 22, 29.

8…… Pickle Ball Drop-In (ages 50 & up), Emmitsburg Community Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. Thru Apr. 2.  3:30-5 p.m. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

8…… Zumba (ages 10 & up), Thurmont Rec Center, Summit Ave., Thurmont. Thru Feb. 12. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

9…… Important Talks at Emmitsburg Senior Center: Kendall Tiffany on “Transit Plus,” Emmitsburg Senior Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. 11 a.m.

9…… Free Movie Day: Where There’s a Will, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 1-3 p.m. 301-271-7911.

9…… Scherenschnitte Class w/Bill Hamman, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 6 p.m. Please bring your knives & boards if previous students. Children must be accompanied by adult. 717-794-2240.

9…… Mother Seton School Take-a-Tour Tuesday, 100 Creamery Rd., Emmitsburg. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Applications for 2018-2019 now being accepted. 301-447-3161 or email Jennifer Buchheister to set up private tour.

10… Digital Graphics Club, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 6:30 p.m. Creating new graphics, animated and static, for our digital sign. 717-794-2240. Also: Jan. 24

10… Frederick Woman’s Civic Club’s 57th Annual Mardi Gras “A Toast to Mardi Gras” Semiformal Gala, Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center, 5400 Holiday Dr., Frederick, MD. 6-11 p.m. Silent auction, food tastings, Royal Court presentation, music & dancing, travel raffle & much more. $75/person. Tickets: www.FWCCINC.ORG or 301-663-5875 or Eventbrite Frederick Events/57th Annual Mardi Gras.

10… Zumba (ages 10 & up), Thurmont Rec Center, Summit Ave., Thurmont. Thru Feb. 14. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

10… Yoga (ages 19 & up), Emmitsburg Community Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

11… FREE family movie: Despicable Me 3 (Rated PG), Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 6 p.m. 717-794-2240.

11… Free Blood Pressure Checks by Right At Home, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 10 a.m.-Noon. 301-271-7911.

11… Monthly Birthday Party, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 12:30 p.m. Birthday people get their picture taken for The Catoctin Banner. Cake & ice cream.  Call day ahead to order lunch ($6). 301-271-7911.

11… Mutual Support Group for Anyone Grieving the Loss of a Loved One, Harriet Chapel, 12625 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thurmont. Noon (second Thurs. each month thru May: Feb. 8, Mar. 8, Apr. 12, May 10). Bring sandwich or something to share. 301-271-4554.

13… You’re Lookin’ at Country, Featuring Forever Young, Thurmont Event Complex, 13716 Strafford Dr., Thurmont. Doors open 4 p.m.; dinner 5 p.m.; show 7 p.m. $25/person (includes buffet dinner). Cash bar avail. Tickets: 301-271-3820.

13… Voice and Singing Master Class with Sarah Howes, Apples Church, 7908 Apples Church Rd., Thurmont. $30/person/session.

13… Winter Dance/Silent Auction, Thurmont American Legion, 8 Park Ln., Thurmont. Doors open 7 p.m. Sticktime Band 8 p.m.-midnight. $15/person or $25/couple. Tickets (or to donate auction item): Heather 301-418-8842. Benefits CHS 2018 Safe & Sane.

13… Ott House Pub Entertainment: Back Traxx, 5 W. Main St., Emmitsburg. 301-447-2625.

14… Concert, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Creagerstown, 8619 Blacks Mill Rd., Thurmont. Choir & some selected solo performances. 3 p.m.

14… Community Country Breakfast, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Center, 103 Church St., Thurmont. 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $8/adult; $4/ages 4-10; Free/ages 3 & under. 301-447-2367.

15… Playgroup Monday, Children’s Museum of Rose Hill Manor Park, 1611 N. Market St., Frederick, MD. 9:30 a.m.-noon. Ages 2 & up. $2/child. or Kari Saavedra 301-600-2743.

16… The Summit Stitchers Quilt Club, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 5:30 p.m. Any skill level may attend. 717-794-2240.

16… Pauline’s Pals, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 1-3 p.m. Crafters needed to make favors for next year’s Christmas party; all supplies provided. 301-271-7911.

16… Clothes Closet, Thurmont United Methodist Church, 13880 Long Rd., Thurmont. 10-11:30 a.m. 301-271-4511.

16… Important Talks at Emmitsburg Senior Center: Nurse Steve Discusses Vaccinations & Immuniza-tions, Emmitsburg Senior Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. 11 a.m.

17… Birthday Party for Nancy Bert, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 4-6 p.m. Say thank you for all of her years serving the community. 717-794-2240.

18… Winter Accessories Swap, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. Bring your new or gently used winter accessories to swap (hats, scarves, gloves, etc.). 4-7 p.m. 717-794-2240.

18… Free Movie Day: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 301-271-7911.

19… Marie Free Seated Massage, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. $1/minute. 301-271-7911.

20… Teen Open Mic Night, Commodore Recording Studio, 204 E. Main St., Thurmont. 6-8 p.m. For teens 14-18 yrs. of age. Come perform (singer, songwriter, poetry-monologue, comedy, readings) or just come to listen. Snow date: Feb. 3.

20… Art Clinic w/Dorothea (ages 14 & up), Emmitsburg Community Center, S. Seton Ave., Emmits-burg. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

20… Repticon Baltimore Reptile & Exotic Animal Show, Maryland State Fairground, 2200 York Rd., Timonium, MD. Sat.: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (VIP Entry 9 a.m.); Sun.: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (No VIP Early Entry). Educational, family-oriented fun for everyone. $10/adult; $5/ages 5-12; Free/ages under 5.

20.. Thurmont Ministerium’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service, Graceham Moravian Church, 8231-A Rocky Ridge Rd., Thurmont. 11 a.m. Guest speaker: Nick Brown, Executive Director of the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs. Light lunch following service. All invited. 301-271-2379.

22… New Tween to Adult Anime.manga Club, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. Showcase movies, graphic novels & books. 6 p.m. 717-794-2240.

22… Clothes Closet, Thurmont United Methodist Church, 13880 Long Rd., Thurmont. 6-7:30 p.m. 301-271-4511.

22… Catoctin-Ettes, Inc.’s Free Annual Twirling Course for Beginners (ages 5 & up), Emmitsburg Community Center Gym, S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg. 7-7:45 p.m. Held 4 consecutive Mondays. Batons are loaned free for classtime. Register: 240-405-2604 or email

23… World of Sports (ages 6-7), Thurmont Rec Center, Summit Ave., Thurmont. Frederick Co. Parks & Rec. Register:

24… Pot Luck & General Meeting, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. Noon. Please sign up & bring a dish to share or pay $6.  Center providing fried chicken. 301-271-7911.

25… FREE Adult Movie: Dunkirk (Rated PG-13), Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 717-794-2240.

26… Free Meeting w/Elly (Jenkins) Williams, Dept. of Aging, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Call to make a half-hour appt. to discuss senior programs: 301-271-7911.

27 .. Catholic Schools Week (thru Feb. 2), Mother Seton School, Emmitsburg. Visit website for list of events:

27… Winter Yard Sale, Fort Ritchie Community Center, 14421 Lake Royer Dr., Highfield-Cascade, MD. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

27… Preschool Open House for Fall 2018, Good Sheperd Lutheran Church, 1415 W. 7th St., Frederick, MD. 10 a.m. Now offering classes for 2-year-olds. Schedule tour or visit: or 301-695-5855.

29… Mackenzie’s Light will no longer hold monthly meetings. However, it will continue as a resource for drug awareness and for those impacted by loss due to drug addiction. Info.: Becky 301-524-8064 or Facebook.

29…. Catoctin High School Hosts Personal Finance Course (thru March 26), 14745 Sabillasville Rd., Thurmont. 6-7:30 p.m. Open to students & families. Follows Financial Peace University program from Dave Ramsey. Register:

30… Nurse Steve, Thurmont Sr. Ctr., 806 E. Main St., Thurmont.  10:30 a.m. Taking vitals & meeting individually. Following lunch, talk at 12:30 on Vaccinations & Immunizations. 301-271-7911.

30… Noah’s Ark Animal Workshops: “Grow A Groundhog” Workshop & Story, Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, 13676 Monterey Ln., Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Space limited to 12. Sign up by Jan. 11. $5/child. Ages 4-12. 717-794-2240.

Deb Abraham Spalding

In 1939, Pauline Smith lived in the white stucco house at the corner of Elm Street and Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont. One day, someone gave her turkey eggs. Pauline had an idea; she decided to put the eggs under a chicken, hoping they would hatch. And, they did! From that day on, she raised turkeys and sold them to friends for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Over the years, the interest in her turkeys increased, and she realized that there was enough of a market for turkeys to start a business. Already owning a beef and dairy operation, Pauline and husband, Ross, decided to go into turkeys full-time.

Seeing a promising opportunity, the Smiths created Hillside Turkey Farm. Pauline’s husband, Ross, and her children, Betsy, Carlotta, Ann, Ross Jr., and Jimmy all worked for the business at some point in time. Ross II and his wife, Grace, with their sons, Ross III and Bryan, took over when Ross Sr. got sick. Today, Ross Jr.’s son, Bryan and his wife, Judy, have been running the turkey business for approximately twenty years. All of Bryan and Judy’s children—Bryan Jr., Ashley, and Derek—have worked at the business in some capacity while growing up. Bryan Jr. worked the business full-time until he took a new job in Frederick. Derek works while attending college at Mount St. Mary’s University. Both boys show interest in the family business; yet, as parents, Bryan and Judy want the boys to discover all their career options, so they can choose what’s best for them.

According to the USDA, Hillside Turkey Farm’s retail store on Elm Street in Thurmont is known as a Further Processing Plant. The Smith’s farm on Hoover’s Mill Road in Thurmont is where the turkeys are raised. They are then transported for processing in Pennsylvania. Some of the turkeys are shipped back to the store for further processing, meaning the whole bird is used and several things are made from it. They will be processed for sale as fresh turkeys or prepared by smoking, rotisserie cooking, curing, or becoming an ingredient in salads, pot pies, and other foods.

Obviously, the Smith’s turkey business has grown over the generations. Today, the farm has the capability to raise 180,000 birds per year, and it is the job of Bryan and Judy to see that it continues to grow, as technology and shopping trends change. The bulk customer, who freezes and prepares their own large-quantity orders, is joined by the single customer, who is looking for individual-portion packaging. “That’s why it’s important to serve a single customer or an entire party of people,” said Judy. She explained that customers can custom order rotisserie chickens and, occasionally, smoked meats, or they can make special orders with advanced notice.

The Smiths are making a special effort to have individual servings prepared so that customers can take the serving home and freeze it or just pop it in the oven, while still servicing the customer who will need larger quantities. Pre-packaged products in smaller quantities, like pot pies and turkey dinners, are popular for individuals, while the eighty-piece chicken package is a bulk deal for people hosting parties or desiring to package and freeze it themselves.

For parties, smoked breast, deli meats, and cheese can be used to prepare trays; smoked turkey salad makes a great cracker spread, and shrimp and crab meat (available occasionally) round out the party spread.

“Turkey Italian sausage is excellent when baked 25-35 minutes in a 19×13 pan, then cut into slices and tossed in a crock pot with sauce. It’s much easier than making meatballs,” shared Judy.

Hillside turkeys are antibiotic–free and nothing is ever injected, such as added oils or fats. Check out Hillside Turkey Farm by visiting them in person at 30 Elm Street in Thurmont, viewing and ordering online at, or calling 301-271-2728. Tell them you saw them here in The Catoctin Banner newspaper!

Pauline and Ross Smith are shown with a turkey in the early days of Hillside.

Pictured from left are Ashley, Bryan Jr., Bryan, Judi, and Derek Smith.

The smoke house can cook many turkeys at one time on 3’x3’ racks. Wood chips feed the smoke. A huge soup kettle is used for pot pies and soups.

Turkeys are shipped to Pennsylvania for processing. A portion of them are returned to the store for further processing. The whole bird is used, and several kinds of things are made from it.

Eileen Dwyer

Established in the mid-1700s, the village of Thurmont was originally named Mechanicstown. The settlement offered plentiful sources of timber, iron ores, and creeks to provide sources of power. The area flourished with mills, iron forges, tanneries, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and other craftsmen. The name Mechanicstown seemed appropriate, given the means of trade of commerce.

The arrival of the railroad in 1871 established Mechanicstown as a commercial hub of the area. Rapidly, newer industries such as pottery-makers, coffin works, cigar-makers and lumber businesses were established.  Goods were shipped from the new freight depot.

With the dawn of these more progressive industries, the commercial and business leaders felt the village needed a more contemporary name.  And the railroad felt shipping and passenger confusion caused by similarly-named villages would be greatly alleviated. Subsequently, a vote was taken in the late1800s for the renaming of the village.  The two contenders were Blue Mountain City and Thurmont.

Although Blue Mountain City received the popular vote, it was vetoed by the Post Office and the village name was changed Thurmont.

Thurmont is a derivative of the German word, tür (door) and the Latin word, mons (mountains).  So, quite literally, Thurmont translates into “gateway to the mountains” far better than Blue Mountain City might.  What’s in a name?


The problem of an odor coming from the wastewater treatment plant lagoon that the town rents to Enviro-Organic Technologies (EOT) during the winter appears to be under control.

After many residents complained of the horrible smell caused by the food process residuals that were being stored in the lagoon, the town and EOT took steps to address the problem.

The lagoon had not been used since the new wastewater plant went into operation. EOT currently hauls the town’s sludge, but it was in need of a place to store a wash water product from processing poultry.

With the lagoon being filled once again for winter storage, Town Manager Cathy Willets and EOT General Manager Mike Oliver updated the mayor and commissioners on what would be happening at the lagoon for the next year to keep the smell to a minimum.

The problem is that the material stored in the lagoon has been creating a hydrogen sulfide type of smell. “They mixed last year, which was the big reason why there was the odor in town,” Oliver said.

The best preventative in stopping the smell was the development of an 8-inch crust on the top of the lagoon, using straw laid over the lagoon. So now, any stirring that is done, can be done under the cap, with very little odor escaping.

PVC piping was laid down the slope of the lagoon and under the cap. This allows the lagoon to be filled or material removed directly to and from the truck, with little to no chance for the odor to escape.

The time frame for filling the lagoon can take place on twelve work days, from December 15, 2017, to February 28, 2018.

In the spring, it can be removed over twelve days, from March 1 to May. The preference is to remove the material as soon as possible before the temperatures warm up, increasing the chance of an odor problem.

The trucks won’t travel through Emmitsburg, which will reduce the chances of odors reaching residents, should there be a problem.

A field operator will be onsite when the material is being removed to deal with any problems quickly.

Oliver also said that a new bacteria was being tested in Georgia lagoons to control solids and odor. It was showing promise, and if the data continues to be favorable, it might be pilot tested in Emmitsburg. The one possible problem, though, is that the lagoon will need to be at least 45 degrees for it to work.

EOT pays the town $80,000 to use the lagoon. The rent will help offset some of the operating costs of the new wastewater treatment plant.

by James Rada, Jr.


Fewer Residents Paying Water Bills Late

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets reported to the mayor and commissioners that by changing the due date for the quarterly water bills, fewer people are paying their bills late. The change began with the quarterly bills that went out September 17, 2017, and seventy fewer later notices had to be sent to residents.

This meant that residents saved on late fees and town staff saved on time.

“We can attribute that mostly to changing our due date to the fifth,” Willets said.


Emmit Garden Playground Gets Approved

The proposed Emmit Garden playground—which the commissioners would like to see as a handicapped-accessible one, like the new playground in Thurmont—received state approval for its plans. The next step is to get the town permits for it. The playground is expected to be built in the spring of 2018.

The Thurmont Civitan Club, which spearheaded the new fully accessible playground for special needs children in Thurmont, has expressed interest in creating a similar playground in Emmitsburg. Emmitsburg currently has enough money set aside to build a playground in Emmit Garden. However, since it will be located in a floodplain, the Maryland Department of the Environment needed to approve the project.


Brookfield Subdivision Lots Sold

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs announced in December that Richmond American Homes had put a contract in to purchase the remaining forty-seven home lots in the Brookfield subdivision. As part of the purchase, the developer will also have to level out a crest on Irishtown Road. Once that is done, there can be two-way traffic between Brookfield and Pembrook.


Cpl. Duhan Promoted

Thurmont Police Cpl. Tim Duhan was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on November 3, 2017. He is the Thurmont Police K-9 officer and has been with the department for five years. Prior to Thurmont, he served as a Frederick City Police Officer.


Power Saver Retrofits Program Update

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners were updated on how well the Power Saver Retrofits Program has been doing in the town. The program has been around for five years and was introduced to Thurmont in 2016. Homes in the program are given an energy audit to find where improvements can be made to make them more energy efficient. The program can then provide $7,000 to $10,000 to qualifying homeowners to make those improvements. Currently, fifty-five homes have used the program.

Homes that qualify for this program also automatically qualify for the Green Homes Challenge Program, an online tool to help people save energy. The tool can help estimate energy savings, gasoline savings, carbon emissions savings, and other metrics.


Gateway to the Cure Results

The Town of Thurmont made its presentations from its October fundraising efforts for the Patty Hurwitz Fund.

Catoctin High School Football held its 2nd Annual Pink Out Game. T-shirts were sold during the game, and $1,447 was raised. Five football players from the school made the presentation to Patty Hurwitz.

A number of town businesses participated in the Gateway to the Cure with donations and promotions. For instance, at Gateway Candyland, anytime a special chocolate breast cancer lollipop was sold, a $1.00 donation was made to the fund; next door at Gateway Liquors, anytime a bottle of pink wine sold, a $1 donation was made to the fund.

“It’s always a lot of fun,” said Maggie Doll with Gateway Candy and Gateway Liquors. “The kids always get into it out there, and we get pictures on Facebook with everybody dressed in pink. It’s a good cause, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Nicki Eyler with the Eyler Stables Flea Market said that ribbons were hung throughout the flea market and many vendors donated a percentage of their October sales to the fund.

“We also had a donation jar on our counter, so our customers participated as well, and we actually quadrupled what we did last year,” Eyler said.

Dr. John Moles dyed his beard pink for October and donated $1.00 for every patient who got pink on her braces.

Promotional items such as t-shirts, pinwheels, and tote bags were sold at the Thurmont Town Office.

All of the donations raised by the town and town businesses amounted to $15,000. Total donations over the four years the town has participated in the Gateway to the Cure have amounted to $43,000.


Criswell Gets Site Approval for Expansion

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission conditionally approved the preliminary plans for Criswell Chevrolet to add a Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership in town.

A major concern about the new dealership is the additional outdoor lighting that it will add to the area and how it will affect residents. However, the lighting also needs to be bright enough for surveillance cameras to function properly. B&R Design Group presented a plan that reduces the intensity of the lights from 150 watts to 104 watts, which is roughly the lighting intensity at the Thurmont McDonald’s.

Town Planner Chris Jakubiak felt that the intensity of the lights over the employee and customer parking area could be further reduced since those areas are empty at night and do not have inventory that needs to be protected.

Town staff will continue working with B&R Design Group to further reduce the lighting and to decide on the trees and shrubs to use for landscaping along the Moser Road frontage. The site plan also includes privacy fences to separate Criswell from the bordering residential areas.

The new dealership will be at the corner of Moser Road and Frederick Road.


Town Gets a Clean Audit Report

The Town of Thurmont received its annual financial audit report from Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC. The auditor looked at the finances for Fiscal Year 2017. The town’s net position improved by $615,507, while its debt decreased by $737,316. The total revenues for the year were nearly $12.8 million for all government services, while expenses were $12.15 million.


Town Gets Colorfest Update

Hosting Colorfest each year costs the Town of Thurmont tens of thousands of dollars in security costs, sanitation, town staff overtime, and bus rentals. The town pays these costs primarily out of the vendor permit fees, but also from a portion of the parking fees each year.

For Colorfest 2017, permits and parking brought in $63,222. The town paid out 59,570 for all of its expenses. This left the town $3,652 in the black, which is not always the case. Also, Colorfest, Inc. donated $5,000 to the town’s general fund and $1,500 to the Thurmont Police Department out of its earnings.

“The town does not try to make anything,” said Thurmont Commission Marty Burns, during a recent town meeting. “We just don’t want to lose money.”

It was a good year for Colorfest, with seventy-two more permits being issued over 2016. Chief Operating Officer Jim Humerick also pointed out that there appeared to be record crowds on Saturday.

For the most part, things ran well. Friday evening before Colorfest, the town started experiencing some power problems in the park. Town staff fixed it only to have another problem on Saturday that had to be addressed. There was also a minor issue with U. S. Postal Service and Kountry Kitchen employee access to certain areas, but there’s a plan in place to deal with them next year.

The commissioners also discussed whether dogs were causing a problem at the event, but they were split on this.

The most significant problem that needs to be dealt with for this year’s Colorfest is to add some additional port-a-potties at Criswell Chevrolet and Deerfield Church.


 Mayor Don Briggs

The Emmitsburg Christmastide started with the traditional town Christmas tree lighting on Monday, December 4, in front of the Community Center. DJ lead-in Christmas music, caroling by the Mother Seton School and Christ Community Church choruses. Santa Claus arrived in a vintage Vigilant Hose truck to light the tree. Then, it was on to following Santa on foot, north two blocks, to the Carriage House Inn for the 29th annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.” The weather was kind, and the crowd, like the one downtown for the Halloween parade, was the largest in memory. Thank you to town staff for decorating, planning, and managing the tree lighting and also to the Carriage House Inn staff.

In our community Christmas stocking:

  • Thank you to all the volunteers who have made Emmitsburg such a wonderful place to live over the last year. This would include individual volunteers, groups, and local churches.
  • Thank you to Alenjandro Canadas for accepting the invitation to be a Trustee of the Community Foundation of Frederick County. The Community Foundation is a pillar of the greater Frederick County community. The Foundation manages at least five scholarship funds for Emmitsburg area organizations and individuals. Canadas, PhD, an associate professor of economics at the Mount, and his bride, Cynthia (also a PhD), live with their family in Emmitsburg.
  • Thank you to our town staff, State Highway Administration staff, and the contractors. The square revitalization sidewalk project connected the west end Pembrook and Brookfield subdivisions for the first time. Coming into town from the west, the viewscape has certainly changed. Lots of compliments.
  • Thank you to the uptick in home building in Frederick County. It has been heard that Ryan Homes intends to build 900 homes in Frederick County in 2018. In Emmitsburg, the remaining 47 residential lots in Brookfield subdivision are now under contract of purchase by Richmond America. The recent sightings of the men doing test borings, etc., is a normal part of their due diligence prior to purchase. With the build-out, the builder will be responsible for modifications to Irishtown Road to improve sight distance issues that then would allow two-way traffic in and out of the two subdivisions on Brookfield Drive.
  • Thank you County Executive Jan Gardner and her staff. Emmitsburg now has midday bus service to and from Frederick. The service started on Tuesday, December 5, and will continue every Tuesday (only on Tuesdays) as a complement to morning and evening return trips from Frederick. Estimated arrival of bus service at DePaul Street is 1:03 p.m. and at Jubilee is 1:07 p.m., arriving at the Frederick Transit Center at 1:42 p.m. This is a six-month to twelve-month pilot program. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and I worked very closely for this additional service. Finally, you will not have to wait all day. Please call the town office if you need additional information.
  • I attended the Frederick County Association of Realtors (FCAR) legislative breakfast, at which I had the opportunity to speak on the merits of our town and also to hear what our state representatives are intending to propose as bills when in session next spring 2018. There was a lot of across-the-aisle agreement, led by our District Councilman Kirby Delauter and State Senator Ron Young, on tax credits for senior citizens, to keep them in Maryland. Presently, Pennsylvania and other states offer tax credits to make it more attractive for seniors to retire there. We want seniors to stay here because this is where they want to live, and their strong commitment to volunteering in the community.

Emmitsburg is a great place to live. Hoping you all have a wonderful New Year.


Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are at the end of another amazing year in Thurmont. Looking back on 2017, it seems that there was something going on every day of the week, and as we enter the new year, I am sure it will be as busy, if not more so.

We made several improvements this past year, including new sidewalks on Moser Road, the inclusive playground at East End Park, a new playing field at the Eyler Road Park, improvements to the Moser Road intersection, paving the Trolley Trail, improvements to our electric distribution system, paving Eyler Road Park driveways, and many other projects.

The coming year will bring several new projects, including water and sewer line repairs and street work. As always, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to bring these improvements to our residents.

In the next few weeks, we will be welcoming two new businesses to Thurmont. Nu-Way Cleaners will be opening at 12 East Main Street in January, offering home pick-up and delivery, as well as an on-site seamstress. Images Of U Hair Studio will be opening at Thurmont Plaza; appointments and walk-ins will be welcome at this full-service hair salon for the entire family.

There is much to look forward to in 2018, and Karen and I hope that the New Year brings you good health and happiness.

Question, concerns, or comments? Contact me at or call me at 301-606-9458.

Do you love to sing? Do you miss your “old” singing voice? Sarah Howes, formerly from the Taneytown area, will be teaching a Master Class in voice and singing techniques on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Apples United Church of Christ in Thurmont.

Two sessions will be offered: one for older voices that may want to recapture some of their singing ability, and a session for younger voices to help maximize their technique and confidence in singing. Each session will be approximately four hours long.

To sign up, email and view the advertisement on page 14 for more information.

The Frederick Woman’s Civic Club, Inc. will hold its 57th Annual Mardi Gras, “A Toast to Mardi Gras” Semiformal Gala on Saturday, February 10, 2017, at the Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center in Frederick. The event will feature a silent auction, food tastings, the Royal Court presentation, music and dancing, a travel raffle, and much more! For additional information and Mardi Gras advance tickets, visit www.FWCCINC.ORG  and view the advertisement on page 24 for more details.

On the first Thursday of the month, from now until February 23, come out to Harriet Chapel on Catoctin Furnace Road in Thurmont at noon for Peaceful Thursdays. Mark your calendar for January 4, and bring a sandwich (drinks and snacks will be provided) to have a peaceful break and watch a video series by Max Lucado. You will get a coloring book and journal for a relaxing activity as you watch the video. Drinks and snacks will be provided. View the advertisement on page 16 for more information.

Stultz Fitness Training in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, is holding an Open House on January 6, 2018, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. They are located just minutes from Emmitsburg, Gettysburg, Fairfield, and Thurmont. View the advertisement on page 16 for more information.

On January 13, 2018, the Catoctin High School Class of 2018 Safe & Sane is holding a Winter Dance/Silent Auction at the Thurmont American Legion, featuring the band, Sticktime. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. View the advertisement on page 44 for more information and on how to get your tickets today!